We found that the most effective Cultural Analytics projects effectively utilized layouts, color schemes, graphs/other visuals to convey the information in question and capture the user’s attention while remaining relatively simple otherwise (lots of white space and simple text). The most successful projects all had an interactive component that was essential to the overall purpose of the project; a balance between media forms like text, images, videos, and graphics.
A good visualization clearly articulates the data without distracting from it; successful visualizations are easy to manipulate from the user’s standpoint (or allow no manipulation at all, preventing the user from distracting themselves within using the visualization) and leave little room for misinterpretation, organized in ways that facilitates reading them (using physical layout and colors)
The authors of these projects stress user interest in the subject through visual components that grab the reader’s attention; users feel more involved when able to make their own contributions and provide personal insight and opinions on the subject. Every component of these projects has a clear connection to the broader arguments that the author is making (either in criticism or support). The diversity of team members broadens the scope of these projects without taking away from their specific focus.
What is clear to us at this point, is that DH projects require a large amount of manpower as well as resources to get off the ground; there are a myriad number of roles specific to each project that are critical to its success, including web/graphic designers, researchers, programmers, associates/partners and one or two leaders.
We’ve found that the overall objective/purpose of these projects is to raise awareness and generate conversation on topics tha would otherwise not have a platform to be fleshed out, and that thrive specifically within the digital humanities platform, thanks to the integration of hard facts, multimedia and human collaboration.